When film buffs talk about the heyday of gritty crime pictures in the early seventies, a textbook example of the genre is the 1973 crime thriller THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE.
Robert Mitchum leads a perfect cast as the title's small time crook Eddie "Fingers" Coyle, facing a jail sentence for driving stolen goods across state lines.
Not wanting to leave his wife and kids at home on welfare if he has to do time, Eddie begins to chat with undercover detectives about providing info on some of the motley crew he calls his associates.
Alex Rocco plays Scalice, the leader of a daring bank robbery/kidnapping gang that gets his guns from Eddie. Rocco, along with Peter Boyle as fellow crook and bartender with his eye on Eddie's loyalty are terrific.
As the film develops under the steady direction of Peter Yates (Bullitt, The Deep) you begin to realize that the ethical lines between the crooks and the cops (led by detective Richard Jordan) are pretty blurry.
Hard edged, gritty, realistic and interesting, The Friends of Eddie Coyle is a violent time capsule of Boston cops & crime in the early seventies. We'll give Eddie and his friends a solid B.
Listen for a great music score by jazz great Dave Grusin.